BC’s Economic Recovery Plan will help restore watershed and wetlands on the North Island while creating at least 18 jobs and protecting the natural environment for future generations.
“The people of the North Island are very proud of the natural beauty of their region. It’s where we live, work and play.” said NDP MLA Michele Babchuk via news release. “Partnering with the Kwakiutl First Nation and Greenways Land Trust is a great way to ensure these outdoor spaces are restored and protected for the animals, plants and people that call them home.”
The Kwakiutl Cluxewe River and Estuary Restoration will address large-scale erosion issues and restore salmon spawning areas in the lower river and estuary.
The Urban Watershed Protection and Restoration in Campbell River will support the ecological restoration of the Baikie Island Nature Reserve and surrounding crown land and other high-traffic riparian areas.
“Dła̱xsiwè (Klux-see-we) is an origin and historic village site for Kwakiuł. Today, it is the location of our campground and resort, and is regularly used for cultural purposes, including healing and ceremony,” said Sherri Labour, lands and resources manager for the Kwakiutl First Nation. “The lower reaches of Dła̱xsiwè have been severely impacted by forestry and other development, and, as a result, are extremely unstable. This funding will address emergency ocean incursion and erosion issues that have the potential to destroy the critical and unique saltwater marsh habitat that this site represents.”
Meanwhile, Cynthia Bendeickson, executive director of Campbell River’s Greenways Land Trust, said, “All of us at Greenways are excited by the opportunities that this funding provides. We have worked with landowners, partners, and our volunteer streamkeepers to identify protection and restoration projects in all nine of Campbell River’s urban streams, with an emphasis on riparian areas that have been heavily impacted by increased pressures due to the pandemic. Restoration activities will include removing garbage and former homeless encampment debris, closing unauthorized trails, upgrades to existing trails to prevent sediment and erosion into waterways, invasive species management, and revegetation with native trees and shrubs. Greenways is incredibly proud to be able to use this funding to add an additional five staff positions (doubling our staff capacity) to give employment opportunities to youth and Indigenous people – some of the hardest hit demographics during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
These projects are two of 70 local watershed and wetland initiatives recently announced by the provincial government. Through StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, $27 million has been dedicated to ensure B.C.’s water ways stay healthy and resilient in a changing climate, while at the same time stimulating economic recovery by creating 750 new jobs.
The projects were identified by Watersheds BC in collaboration with partners throughout the province. Many projects are either being led by or implemented in partnership with Indigenous communities.
This initiative is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC — a plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.
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